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Veröffentlicht: 19 Apr 2023

June 10 will mark the 41st anniversary of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s death at 37 years of age, an essential filmmaker who is seldom named now, and even less known, in another act of cinephile forgetfulness that is actually an act of basic ignorance.

If Fassbinder is essential it is because no one (or almost) like him was able to x-ray and show how human relationships are based on possession and the natural cruelty that possession entails, and he did so by creating films that were sometimes cruel, sometimes failed, but always stark, honest and lucid, like that impossible proof of love in In a Year with 13 Moons, or that imaginary happiness in Fox and His Friends. Perhaps the forgetfulness I mentioned above is due to the fact that the bulk of his filmography (an astonishing number of 44 works between feature films for cinema and television, some short films, some miniseries, some macroseries, all made in a time frame of just 15 years) can be described as melodramas, a genre reviled in our days for reasons that elude me, and that Fassbinder learned to love and practice by watching the very remarkable work of another forgotten master, Douglas Sirk. Or perhaps the cause of it is the fact that Fassbinder's work lacks the handbrake, the self-censoring and the sugar coating of contemporary drama.

Be that as it may, it is never a bad time, with or without an anniversary, to remember and celebrate the work of the Bavarian genius, and to declare (contrary to what the title of his first feature film affirms) that the love for Fassbinder's work can never be colder than death.


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